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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Trees (12/05/05)

TITLE: Of Tall Trees and Short Men
By Virginia Gorg


“If only I can climb this tree, I can see this great Jesus that everyone is talking about,” thought Zacchaeus to himself.

Zacchaeus was intrigued about Jesus who professed to offer salvation to everyone. Zacchaeus had been intently studying the words of the prophets, but he could not believe that salvation was offered to him, a tax collector. In addition, Zacchaeus wondered if his personal wealth and arrogance prevented him from receiving salvation.

On this particular early summer day, Jesus was passing through Jericho, giving Zacchaeus the perfect opportunity to see Him.

“But I am so short, I cannot see. I think I will climb this sycamore tree!” Zacchaeus worked his way through the crowd and no one seemed to notice this small-statured man. Finally, he reached the sycamore tree and climbed up. There, just down the street, he saw Jesus!

Zacchaeus was surprised and thought to himself: “He looks like any one of us, yet there is something special about Him. I will hide in this tree and glimpse through the leaves as He passes by. I do not want Him to see me.” Zacchaeus sat quietly watching Jesus approach, completely hidden from view except for his eyes.

When Jesus reached the sycamore tree, He stopped, looked up, and said to Zacchaeus, “Come down immediately. I must stay at your house today."

Zacchaeus was so amazed that he almost fell out of the tree! But, at that instant, Zacchaeus knew that his sins were forgiven, so he jumped out of the sycamore tree and welcomed Jesus into his home with honesty and joy.

In gratitude for forgiveness, Zacchaeus proclaimed to Jesus: “Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount."

Jesus turned to the bystanders and knew what their thoughts and words were. In a teaching manner, He said to them all: “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." You see, Jesus knows the heart of each person, and Zacchaeus had a pure heart and was ready to receive salvation.

“Come down immediately. I must stay at your house today." These are the words that Jesus speaks to each one of us, offering, simply, salvation. Unlike Zacchaeus, we probably do not have to climb the sycamore tree. However, we must understand our need for a Savior and ask Him into our hearts with sincerity and joy. Today is your day! Let Jesus rule in your heart, your house, and your life. It will be the best decision you ever make.

Reference: Luke 19 (NIV)

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Member Comments
Member Date
Garnet Miller 12/13/05
I agree! We all must reach the place where we are able, in our hearts, to accept Jesus Christ.

Well-written story!
Jan Ackerson 12/13/05
Nice re-telling of a familiar story.

Consider using a few different words or phrases to replace "Zacchaeus," who shows up in almost every sentence. "The tax collector", "the small man," even a few more uses of "he".

Thanks for expounding on this passage, and for your message of hope.